Mornings Would Be Better If They Started Later

I’ve been remiss in writing about my parenting adventures as frequently as I’d like, but please know I have an airtight excuse:  I’m freakin’ tired.

The world is made up of three kinds of folks:  morning people; night owls; and my mother-in-law.  My mother-in-law rises, without fail, at the ungodly hour of 4AM.  Not because she has to work or has a flock of crowing roosters in the backyard, but because, according to her, “that’s the best part of the day.”  I would have laughed when she said this, only I was too busy searching for the crack pipe from which she obviously smokes.  I’m not even sure alarm clocks work that hour.  If they do, they should really consider ousting the head of their labor union.  Because the only thing that should be going off at 4AM is Lindsay Lohan’s SCRAM bracelet.

Me…?  I’m a night owl.  My creative adrenaline doesn’t really kick in until 10PM, an inconvenient truth for the mother of a ten-month-old who, like most all kids, is a morning person.  People tell you the first three months of motherhood are the hardest; not so for me.  Miss Skye would sleep in till 10, 11AM, leading me to believe I’d accomplished something even more miraculous than the Virgin Birth — I’d given birth to the Miracle Morning-Averse Baby.  Morning-Averse Baby hated mornings just as much as her mom and dad, if not more.  Morning-Averse Baby would wake up with an ornery look that said, “Do not even TRY to change my diaper, woman, until I’ve had my coffee.”

I loved that baby.

Then she turned five months old, at which point we transitioned her to the crib.  If you look at the fine print on a crib’s instructions, it says:  WARNING:  DO NOT USE CRIB IF ANY PARTS ARE MISSING.   DO NOT LEAVE CHILD IN CRIB WITH SIDE LOWERED.  MOST IMPORTANTLY, DO NOT, BY GOD, LET CHILD SLEEP IN THIS THING IF YOU EVER HOPE TO SLEEP PAST 6AM AGAIN.

My Morning-Averse Baby became a happy morning person with absolutely no regard for my sleeping habits.  As if parents are supposed to adapt to their kids’ needs or something?  She would wake me up with her loud coos, greeting me with a wide, irresistibly cute smile as soon as I opened her bedroom door.  RUDE.  She knew morning sunshine was my Kryptonite!  Yet there she was blatantly rubbing her happy morningy-ness in my face, day after day after…dfsdfusdkfjskluto

Oops.  Sorry.  Took a brief snooze there.

I’ve tried to become a morning person.  I really have.  I’ve tried hitting the sack earlier, but no matter how exhausted I may be, I end up staring at the ceiling and brainstorming column ideas that I’ll invariably forget by morning.  Which further proves just how evil mornings are — they even steal your nighttime thoughts.

I’ve also tried “encouraging” Miss Skye to sleep in later by putting her to bed later — wait, listen.  Do you hear that?  That’s the collective laughter of veteran parents who know better.  Who know my plan made life even more miserable for everybody involved.  In theory, it seems logical, right?  But if I’ve learned anything in the past ten months, besides how to make a baby laugh by making fart noises on her arm, it’s that logic plays no role in parenting.  Turns out, the more tired a baby is, the less likely she is to go to sleep without protest.  And by protest, I mean fuss so loudly the people at the World Cup are like, “Whoa.  What is that?”  Yes!  My child’s tired screams not only travel 10,000 miles, but they also are the first known sound to effectively compete with those crazy South African buzzing trumpets.

Seriously.  The vuvuzela? Makes me long for bagpipes.

It also doesn’t matter what time a baby goes to sleep; her inner alarm clock is still set to go off at 6AM.  Bottom line:  There is just no stopping Happy Morning Baby, short of slipping Jack Daniels in her bottle or, even more cruelly, playing The English Patient on-loop in her crib…dfsdfusdkfjskluto.

Oops.  Sorry.  Just writing “The English Patient” makes me want to snooze.

I know parental sleep deprivation is not exactly a concept I’ve pioneered.  “Cry us a river,” veteran parents are scoffing, presumably while reinserting their Red Bull I.V.s (also:  a terrific baby shower gift).  Because, really, how else could some of you folks manage to juggle multiple kids, house chores and full-time jobs, all the while remaining (mostly) upright?  Unless, of course, you’ve gotten your hands on my mother-in-law’s crack cocaine pipe, in which case the mom in me must admonish you:  “Be nice and SHARE with your fellow parents!”

Bear with me; I am slowly learning how to survive — and work — on four-to-five hours of sleep.  There are nights when I just stare at the monitor, willing the words to appear.  If I’m lucky, a light-bulb will go on… and I’ll remember to turn on the computer.

Even in my bleary-eyed state, however, I know that it’s all worth it.  All I have to do is look at my beautiful daughter and realize that one day, fifty years from now, she’ll come into my bedroom where I’ll greet her with a look that says, “Do not even TRY to change my diaper, woman, until I’ve had my coffee.”

Karma, baby.

Because sharing is caring, as I tell my kids. (Except my wine. Never my wine.)
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Candy Kirby

Candy Kirby is the founder of The Laughing Stork and a professional fun-maker who will never stop chasing her lifelong dream: to find the Pomeranian or porn star after whom her parents must have named her. A humor columnist for Disney, Nickelodeon, Scary Mommy, Reductress and Redbook, she also used to be a staff writer for the soap opera, The Bold and the Beautiful, where she penned many scripts featuring prolonged heated stares and countless “Who’s the Daddy?” story lines. Candy lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two young kids and three rescue Persian cats, the latter of whom are the real brains behind this operation (so send all complaints to them).

9 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Oh Candy if I wasn’t so bloody tired I’d be laughing out loud about the Karma part instead of just laughing in my head because it takes less effort. I have a two and a half year old daughter here at home who JUST started sleeping through the night about 4 months ago, talk about a glorious revelation.. I forgot what a full nights sleep was like, what it was like to have a full dream and not be woken up just as McSteamy was coming out of the shower *sans* towel. Sleep! Oh long lost friend I finally found you! Then I gave birth to our son 16 day’s ago. And sleep ran away with the spoon (or is that the dish ran away?) Anyways thanks for making this owl mom laugh when all she wants to do is sleep.
    p.s I wish I was kidding but I’m not when I say this took me 22 minutes to type because I kept blanking out :/

  • >>Which further proves just how evil mornings are — they even steal your nighttime thoughts.

    I love that line.

  • Look on the bright side, when we visit my side of the family, my Mom can watch Skylar in the mornings and they can do their happy morning thing together.

  • Love this post! My daughter has not been a good sleeper. My husband and I had a few pretty rough months and the line about the IV of Red Bull was totally me! She is 14 months now and finally does pretty well most of the time. I remember thinking at the time though, how on earth do people function!! That morning smile though is the best! Wouldnt miss it for the world!

  • Dear Candy, 1st I want to say I love your columns. Although I don’t comment at all, I visit your web site every day. I was there on candy kirby, then when you were writing with 14 and now this. It’s funny because we were even pregnant together (Paula was born on 12-sep-09). So as you already guess, you’re were kind of my guide into pregnancy and now into motherhood (you and babycenter.com of course). Sometimes I relate to your stories and sometimes I don’t, but I relate to this one because: I was never a morning person!, my husband and Paula are, well, she wakes up somewhere in between 7:00 and 8:00. During the week I don’t really care because 7:00 is the time I wake up on weekdays… but on the weekends, lets say its not fair! Anyway, here is my advise to you: 1st: put Skylar to bed at 9:30. It’s good for her and good for you. She is already used to wake up at 6:00, so even if she goes early to bed, she won’t wake up before that time. 2nd. During the weekends, take naps. I’m serious, leave Sky to Mr. Candy and take at least one (force yourself), I know how controlling we moms can be, but babies belong to their fathers too, so do it. 3rd. We often say people don’t change but changes are a part of life, if something or someone is worth the change, then do it. From what I read, you are a tallented person with a writing gift who is used to use this gift at night… well, just change the time. The gift is always going to be there, just use it within reasonable working hours. If you don’t have enough inspiration at first, just draft and the next day edit and post. Its all a matter of trusting yourself, your gift, your discipline and making some changes to fit your new life as a mom. It can be different sometimes, I mean, being a wife and a mom and a carreer woman and a housewife and a friend, but you don’t have to be all at the same time… Wow, I guess that make up for all the non-posting for all those years…

  • Well, we’re just a bunch of tired mamas, aren’t we? Thanks for sharing your stories and thoughts, guys. And you’re absolutely right, elisa (good to finally hear from you, by the way) — I need to try harder to adjust my work/sleep schedule because, try as I might, I am so not rocking the Zombie Mom look.

    *Yawn*

    xoxo,
    Candy

  • Love this post! I am also incapable of going to bed early, so I have been surviving on less-than-ideal sleep for nearly 3 years.

    One thing that has always worked for us is the concept that “sleep begets sleep” — i.e. the more sleep your baby gets, the more she’ll sleep. My Miss S goes to bed at 6:15PM and wakes up at 6:15AM and nothing we do will make her sleep in longer, but if we put her to bed too late (even 7 PM), then she’s up at 5 AM or earlier. My son (2.5 yrs) is the same way — if he goes to bed any later than 7 PM, then he’s up at 6 AM or earlier (otherwise he sleeps until 7 AM).

    I’ve also done what Mr. Candy suggests: When we are visiting my in-laws, I wake up with my Miss S, nurse her, and then hand her off to grandma so I can sleep in a bit longer. Bliss!

    I think part of YOUR bedtime routine should be to pop “The English Patient” in the DVD at 9 PM. You should be fast asleep by 9:07 PM.

  • Great post! Agreed about the crack pipie: your MIL is on it and she needs to share! I thought that I was going insane before my daughter starting sleeping more regularly.

    “But if I’ve learned anything in the past ten months, besides how to make a baby laugh by making fart noises on her arm, it’s that logic plays no role in parenting. ” Word.

    Like Cowgirl, we adhere to the “sleep begets sleep” philosophy from the book “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” I’m probably just lucky but my 4 month old has been sleeping from 8 or 9 pm to 7 am for a month, and in the last week she has indicated she wanted to go down closer to 7pm. (furtively knocking on wood) What’s crazier still is that the author said this would happen. Anyway, you’ve probably already read it but if not it’s a great resource. Good luck and thanks for the smile!